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I found out that my husband is sexually attracted to my sister. I do not know what to do.


Question: “My husband and I have been together for eight years (dated for four years and married for four years). We have two boys, ages 2 and 7 months. My husband and younger sister have always been quite close. Some people told me a little too close, but I trusted him and always thought they had a brother/sister relationship.

So my sister and my father came to visit me and then brought my first son home with them. I felt overwhelmed and needed a break, but my youngest is still breastfeeding, so he stayed with me. They only stayed here for two days, but after they left, things went downhill. My husband, who likes to write music, kept complimenting me. It was almost as if he was also trying to convince himself of the compliments. I felt like he might have cheated or at least been hiding something from me. I had a hole in my stomach that wouldn’t go away, so I finally mustered up enough courage to say something. He got defensive, saying I was acting crazy and it made him feel bad to be accused of something he didn’t do. Then I cried because I thought he was right.

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I know this is going to make me look bad, but I couldn’t take his word for it and the fact that he got defensive instead of comforting me rubbed me the wrong way. I decided to go through his phone to reassure myself. I went to his notes app looking for a password and found a bunch of songs he had written. I saw one called “Girl, I’m thinking of you”. I foolishly thought it was me but soon realized it wasn’t. He was talking about thinking about a girl he’s not supposed to see, how he undresses her with his eyes, finds excuses to touch her, and much more. Honestly, I was in shock and confronted him, and he tried to get defensive asking me why I checked his phone.

He told me it was about sexual feelings he had for “someone” in the fall/winter when I had our second son. He didn’t want to act on them, and he didn’t know what to do so he wrote about his feelings. I asked who it was, but he wouldn’t tell me. At that moment, I knew who it was. I asked him if I was related to this person and he just buried his face in his hands and nodded. He started crying and explaining how bad he felt. When he went to sleep I packed a bag, put my youngest in the car and drove off. I went to my cousin and texted him saying I needed time. He suggested couples therapy, said he loved me, was sorry and only wanted me, our family and nothing else. The trust between us is completely broken. I know he technically didn’t do anything but that’s still bad, right? The worst part is, I would normally call my family about it, but I can’t. It’s embarrassing, and I have to talk to them every day and act good because they have my son right now. I do not know what to do.”

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To respond: “While this may seem like the worst of betrayals, the fact that he didn’t act on those feelings and remained faithful gives me some hope here. Your conflict probably seems wrong at first because that it is your sister and then because of how close they are, but that is not necessarily unusual. There are actually many studies that show how normal it is to have crushes or feelings towards other people while being in a long-term committed relationship. Just to give more context, one study found that 98% of men and 80% of women said they had fantasized about someone other than their partner in the past two months. We’re all human, so despite our longtime partners, we can find other people attractive. It is the “not acting on those feelings” part that is most important to many of us in monogamous relationships. However, he still should have been more transparent with his feelings when you confronted him.

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That being said, this situation has hurt you deeply, and your feelings are valid. It sounds like you love your husband and so if you want to work on fixing your relationship, I would highly recommend couples counseling. A therapist may be able to help you.

Your first step is going to have to rebuild the trust between the two of you because, as you said, it’s broken. A therapist should be able to provide confidence-building exercises to get you on the right track. This is essential because relationships are bound to fall apart if the partners cannot trust each other. Another good step can be to set boundaries. It will have to come from a conversation between the two of you and be things you are both comfortable with, but an example I can think of could be that his relationship with your sister may not be able to be as close anymore, or at least immediately.

If it was me in this situation, I’d give it a chance to fix things, because it seems like you have a solid relationship outside of this event and it’s not clear right now. But it depends on you. If this conflict is something you cannot overcome, then divorce and co-parenting are still on the table. Whichever course of action you decide to take is entirely correct and fair. Hope this helps and wish you the best.

-Morgan

Morgan Absher is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles who hosts the “Two Hot Takes” podcast where she and her co-hosts provide advice. She writes a weekly column, sharing her tips with USA TODAY readers. Find her on TikTok @twohottakes and YouTube here. You can reach her by email at [email protected] or you can click here to share your story with her.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Marriage Advice: Husband is sexually attracted to my sister. To help!

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